Optimize delivery of business-critical apps to branch offices

Solution Brief
Optimize delivery of
business-critical apps to branch offices
Use Citrix NetScaler SD-WAN to increase WAN reliability
and utilization while reducing cost.
Learn how Citrix NetScaler SD-WAN can keep your distributed organization up and running.
Solution Brief
Optimize delivery of business-critical apps to branch offices
Organizations of all sizes rely on wide area networks (WANs) to connect branch offices to the datacenter and deliver the
business-critical applications their employees depend on.
Maintaining high availability and quality of service is crucial
—slow or dropped connections can have an immediate impact
on productivity. MPLS typically offers high reliability but only at a high price, and they can’t be changed quickly to meet
changing needs. Citrix offers a more reliable, cost-effective way to support users in every location with SD-WAN.
Citrix NetScaler SD-WAN logically bonds multiple, distinct WAN connections into one virtual
link with application awareness, dynamically applied network policies and continuous
monitoring to deliver traffic over the best-quality path every time. In this way, organizations
can increase application reliability and bandwidth utilization while reducing total cost of
ownership for branch office connectivity.
The need for more flexible, cost-effective branch office connectivity
Whether an organization has two locations or 2,000, reliable, flexible and cost-effective WAN
connectivity is an absolute necessity. An unreliable network can impair the performance of
enterprise apps, XenApp, XenDesktop, voice over IP (VoIP), video conferencing and other
business-critical services for users in branch offices. To keep the business up and running, many organizations invest in costly MPLS lines—and then spend even more money on
redundant MPLS or broadband connections for failover, even as this added capacity remains
unused in ordinary circumstances. As more bandwidth is needed to support cloud-based apps,
rising data volumes, video and other demands, the rigidity, long provisioning timeframes and
long-term contracts of MPLS make scaling the network a long, painful and costly process. The
problem is especially acute in organizations where MPLS connections are managed centrally at
an enterprise level, leaving branch offices unable to deal directly with service providers to adapt
to their own local needs.
The high cost and inflexibility of MPLS leads some organizations to consider broadband as an alternative. While broadband is indeed less expensive, by a factor of 3 – 9 times in some
locations, it fails to consistently provide the traffic engineering, control and performance
offered by MPLS. This is especially problematic given the importance of reliability and
performance for critical apps such as VoIP, where even slight jitter can create an unacceptable
user experience. What branch offices need is a WAN solution that combines the reliability,
performance and control of MPLS with the scalability and affordability of broadband.
How Citrix NetScaler solves WAN challenges for branch offices
Citrix NetScaler SD-WAN provides a better way to support business apps in branch offices with WAN virtualization. The solution logically bonds multiple distinct WAN
Solution Brief
Optimize delivery of business-critical apps to branch offices
connections—MPLS, Ethernet, DSL or wireless—into a single virtual link for a more scalable, cost effective and cloud-ready approach to mobile workspace delivery. The encryption of paths
between devices provides end-to-end security, and packets are bridged based on application
needs and link performance to ensure the best user experience. NetScaler SD-WAN is offered as
part of Citrix NetScaler SD-WAN Enterprise Edition, an integrated platform for WAN
virtualization, optimization and visibility.
Data Center
Active MPLS
Remote Office
Source appliance add
tags to every packet
Destination appliance reads
tags and measures transit
time, jitter, packet loss, etc.
Figure 1: NetScaler SD-WAN Virtual WAN appliances measure transit time, jitter and packet
loss, then create a “map” of the performance and health of all paths in the WAN. This
information is used to select the most appropriate paths for different types of traffic. Broadband
connections can now be used actively for all applications.
NetScaler SD-WAN delivers the most important capabilities for ensuring reliable, highperformance connectivity for business apps to users in branch offices.
Application awareness
Unlike simple load balancers, NetScaler SD-WAN sends packets based on application needs and link performance, not just a destination IP address, and prioritizes application traffic to adapt to congestion. Applications that are sensitive to latency, jitter or packet loss are
dynamically allocated to high-performance bandwidth links based on real-time network
conditions, with seamless sub-second failover to the next-best WAN path in the event of an
outage. Lower-quality paths are used only as much as necessary, and then for lower-priority
applications. Continuous monitoring of latency, jitter and packet loss of every WAN connection
enables intelligent path selection in real time. In most cases outages are undetectable by
employees, even with latency-sensitive applications like VoIP.
True path bonding
Going beyond path selection, NetScaler SD-WAN bonds paths together to enable higher
throughput and better efficiency. By bonding multiple paths for application traffic, NetScaler
SD-WAN mitigates performance issues affecting any individual path and increases utilization for better cost efficiency. To further reduce wasted bandwidth, NetScaler SD-WAN can
seamlessly pool active and backup link capacity for ongoing use.
Traffic visibility for ICA and other business apps
Application performance issues for branch users can lead to time-consuming troubleshooting
among the user and the network, client and server infrastructure teams. NetScaler SD-WAN
helps IT zero in on root causes quickly and accurately to avert problems and reduce helpdesk citrix.com
Solution Brief
Optimize delivery of business-critical apps to branch offices
calls through enhanced network diagnostics and reporting. A single console lets IT manage and monitor application traffic including ICA as well as MAPI, CIFS, HTTP, Citrix ShareFile, NetApp
and other protocols over the WAN. AppFlow captures metrics on session usage, trip time and
other real-time and historical information for Layers 4 – 7 to help IT understand what is
happening at the application level. Import this data into Citrix NetScaler Insight Center to
visualize application performance, generate performance reports and create customized
analytics for troubleshooting.
Better reliability at a lower cost for business apps
Increased app reliability
By reducing latency, lossiness and jitter and preventing outages, NetScaler SD-WAN ensures a high-quality branch office user experience for critical apps such as VoIP, VDI, video conferencing
and app virtualization solutions. Even the degradation or failure of an app’s primary path won’t
result in a brownout or outage, as the solution prioritizes traffic and reorders packets for the most
sensitive and critical apps to maintain quality of service. As a result, IT can deliver uninterrupted
user productivity using any mixture of MPLS and broadband connections—even when the quality
of the individual paths are not uniformly high.
Figure 2: Virtual WAN Center: Centralized, aggregate dashboard
Better utilization
NetScaler SD-WAN eliminates the need to reserve broadband connections for backup and allows
all bandwidth connections to be available at all times. With more capacity available, it is easier for
IT to support variable and growing volumes of traffic between branch offices and the datacenter
without having to overspend or leave bandwidth unused.
Solution Brief
Optimize delivery of business-critical apps to branch offices
Lower TCO
Allowing broadband connections to deliver high-priority application traffic with the same
reliability and quality of service as MPLS, NetScaler SD-WAN lets organizations expand their
network capacity to branch offices using low-cost, flexible broadband connections. Some
locations can even dispense with MPLS entirely and build high-quality WANs using broadband
links alone. In fact, the industry analyst firm Gartner anticipates that SD-WANs can reduce the
cost of WAN ownership and operation by at least 40 percent thanks to lower expenditures on
hardware, software and support for WAN equipment in remote offices.1
The Citrix Networking Solution
NetScaler SD-WAN is part of a comprehensive networking solution that provides the highest
level of visibility and most flexible security for XenDesktop and/or XenApp delivery. In addition,
Citrix NetScaler, an industry-leading application delivery controller (ADC) improves the resiliency,
performance and security of enterprise, SaaS, mobile and virtualized applications, including Citrix
XenApp and XenDesktop. Further, NetScaler Unified Gateway provides secure remote access
from any device for apps deployed in the datacenter or in the cloud.
Next steps
To learn more about using NetScaler SD-WAN to enable reliable, cost-efficient connectivity for
business app users in branch offices, please refer to the following resources:
The Watershed video
Seamless branch networking with SD-WAN technology
Gartner Market Guide for Software-Defined WAN
Gartner: Technology Overview for SD-WAN, July 2015.
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About Citrix
Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS) is leading the transition to software-defining the workplace, uniting virtualization, mobility management,
networking and SaaS solutions to enable new ways for businesses and people to work better. Citrix solutions power business mobility
through secure, mobile workspaces that provide people with instant access to apps, desktops, data and communications on any device,
over any network and cloud. With annual revenue in 2015 of $3.28 billion, Citrix solutions are in use at more than 400,000 organizations and by over 100 million users globally. Learn more at www.citrix.com.
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